With the pinot noir-drenched Willamette Valley just a half-album away by car, few cities on Planet Earth can claim better proximity to a great wine region than Portland. Still, Oregon pinots don't come cheap. The best way to find a good deal is to develop a rapport with a trustworthy wine seller, bombard your new pal with questions and keep going back. Lucky you: Portland is blessed with many good and friendly bottle shops. This isn't a complete list, but it's a good start for any local wine lover.
Owner Darryl Joannides refuses to sell anything he hasn't tasted personally. His shop features scores of selections from small-producing wineries, the best deals hailing from lesser-known regions of Spain and Italy. Check out Darryl's wall of Spanish reds from Jumilla and Toro for some amazing bargains.
E&R Wine Shop
Ed Paladino and Richard Elden are the proprietors of this cozy, eponymous Southwest wine shop. Though Italian wines are E&R's special niche, Paladino makes an insane (i.e., incredibly full) trip to France the beginning of each year. And Elden is the shop's Oregon wine expert.
Every Day Wine
A cozy bottle shop and wine bar, with any of the store's 400 selections available by the glass. Friendly owner Beth Boston worked for Oregon vintner Sokol Blosser before nabbing the keys to this neighborhood haunt in 2003. Patrons can bring their own food, and in true Alberta Street fashion, dogs are welcome.
Great Wine Buys
Features 12 wines each month for less than $10, with free tastings Friday nights and Saturday afternoons. The owner is a young bicycle enthusiast, so it's no surprise the place draws a youthful crowd.
Liner & Elsen
This Portland standby has an impressive inventory, ranging from dirt cheap to sky-high—and everything in between.
McGinn's Russell Street Wine Merchants
Down the hill from busy Mississippi, this shop's "Altar to the Broke" showcases a revolving selection of about 30 wines priced at less than $10. Although owner Jerry McGinn's preferences slant heavily toward the Old World, there are plenty of well-priced American, Australian and South American bottles. Tastings are held on Thursdays at 5:30 for $8, all day Saturday, or whenever Jerry feels like cracking open a bottle.
Oregon Wines on Broadway
The best place to sample fine Oregon wines by the glass.
Portland Wine Merchants
Roy Olson has been helping Hawthorne imbibe since 1993, and he claims to sell more Portuguese wine than anyone on the West Coast. There's almost always something cheap and unusual on offer here.
Square Deal Wine Company
Dan Beekley directly imports hundreds of wines, primarily from Europe, and with the majority priced between $12 and $16, Square Deal lives up to its name.
Bruce Bauer's shop is the Sellwood neighborhood's best, with loads of deals from Spain, France and Italy. Bruce holds drop-in tastings for 10 bucks on Friday nights and free all day Saturday.
A labyrinth of wine that's confusing to navigate but has a selection that's tough to beat.